Rockets bounce back to down Blazers
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden and Dwight Howard combined for 62 points and 20 rebounds as the Houston Rockets upended the Portland Trail Blazers, 116-101, on Tuesday.
Harden poured in a game-high 33 points to go with seven rebounds while Howard netted 29 points on 10-of-13 from the field with 13 boards as the Rockets bounced back after their first loss of the season Monday against the Clippers.
Point guards Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley scored 12 points apiece and Omri Casspi contributed eight rebounds and a team-high five assists.
Portland trailed by as many as 18 points midway through the third period but fought back to cut the deficit to 93-88 on a Mo Williams jumper at the 7:41 mark of the fourth. Beverley hit a triple on the ensuing Houston possession and Harden followed with a difficult three-point play to help the visitors maintain their edge.
Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, and Wes Matthews had 19. Williams dropped eight and seven helpers off the bench.
"That was the biggest problem against this team was protecting the paint," Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said.
The Rockets led 55-50 at intermission and opened the second half on a 15-2 burst. All five Houston starters scored on the surge, which Harden capped with three straight free throws following a Matthews technical foul.
Portland chipped away at its 11-point deficit after 36 minutes of play and cut it to five after a 7-2 run. Houston regained control behind Beverley and following Lillard's 3-pointer with 3:22 remaining to cut it to eight, Harden answered with a long ball of his own.
Portland started hot, sinking 6-of-9 from downtown in the opening period, but Houston shot 52.6 percent from the floor and hit 8-of-9 from the foul line to keep it close. Lillard and Batum had seven apiece in the frame and Dorell Wright hit a last-second triple as Portland led 31-30 after one.
Houston went up seven on a Chandler Parsons alley-oop from Casspi midway through the second, but Matthews led a quick 7-0 surge to tie the score at 45-45 3:52 before halftime.
Harden knocked down a jumper with 5.9 seconds on the clock to give Houston a five-point advantage.
Batum had 13 points, four assists and three rebounds on the heels of his third career triple-double Saturday against the Spurs ... Houston shot 6-of-22 from 3-point range while the Blazers made just 4-for-22 in the final three periods ... The Rockets outscored Portland 54-28 in the paint and 18-5 on second chance points.
11/06 02:32:24 ET